Confidence Vs. Arrogance

WARNING: Rant ahead, not directed at any of you folks!

What is the line between confidence and arrogance? How much pride can we show in our accomplishments before we cross the line? Is it because we’re women that we’re accustomed to downplaying our accomplishments? And is it because we’re women that we’re taken aback when someone raves about their own successes?
Let me clarify, because recognition is hard to come by in this business ,and if we don’t promote ourselves, who will? But there’s a difference between celebrating our accomplishments and having a sense of entitlement to those accomplishments. There is something in the tone of the emails of the people who have this sense of entitlement that just turns me off. I’ve left lists because of it, and I feel like a small person because of it.
Am I the only one who gets these bad vibes? I know it’s hard to convey our true tone in emails and blogs, but I don’t think I’m imagining it.
And if you ever think I’m being too arrogant, please slap me!

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Stephanie said...

I don't think it's possible for you to be arrogant, Mary!

And yes, I've experienced similar situations. Personally, I find it a bit sad... arrogance is often a result of a person being blind to their own shortcomings. Confidence is wonderful, and anyone who has worked hard to get to a certain point deserves to be confident. But arrogance is ugly, no matter who the person is. I don't blame you for leaving lists because of it. I would too.

The one thing I often see that annoys me to no end is people who talk incessantly about themselves. Everything relates to them. I don't know if it's a writerly habit, because we tend to be inward-thinking, but I don't go to certain boards anymore because of the constant stream of "what I'm doing" and "poor me."

Slap ME if I start doing that, ok?


Stephanie said...
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Kelly Boyce said...

I find arrogance is just another word for lack of confidence. When you spend that much time ramming your greatness down other people's throats I always wonder just who you're trying to convince. When you're confident, you don't need to trumphet it to whoever can hear. It just shows in how you work and behave naturally.

Peggy said...

You're not arrogant, Mary. Far from it. I haven't really noticed too many other writers being so either. The ones I have are actually published writers taking criticism a bit too harsh. Seems that thick skin we grow as unpublished writers gets thinner with every published book.

Paula said...

I agree with Bosey--you're practically the opposite of arrogant, Mary.

I guess I've been really lucky with the lists I've been on, because I can't say I've come across too many arrogant people, among writers anyway.

Now, fandoms? Another story.

Anonymous said...

You're not arrogant Mary. I'm always surprised at how down to earth you are! I mean look at all your accomplishments.
I think sometimes people don't realize they're being that way. Last year a j-teafher in my district asked in a meeting if any of us knew what plug-ins were and what we needed to do. I said, you just download the plug in and use it. My friends looked at me with complete shock and then one of them said, man that was B****y. I didn't mean it to be arrogant, but it certainly came across to the whole room that way.
I don't see a lot of arrogance in the romance community, but man there's a ton of it in my day job. :-)
If I'm ever being that person, I hope my friends will step in and let me know just like they did last year. :-)

Trish Milburn said...

I agree with everyone else, Mary. You're definitely not arrogant, but I know what you mean about coming across the occasional person who is. I don't think they realize they're shooting themselves in the foot.

Anonymous said...

Most people who are normal know where the line is and don't cross it. Others...well, I've unsubscribed from some lists, too. :/

Rene said...

I quit an RWA chapter because of one person's obnoxious arrogance. I live with a lawyer, I get enough obnoxious arrogance without logging onto the computer.

Toni Anderson said...

LOL Rene.

Mary, no way are you arrogant. Warm and friendly, hardworking and dedicated.

I do hate how I come over in emails sometimes. Hard to be deadpan British when there is no comic relief to be gained from looking at my face :D

Unknown said...

I find myself wondering if I'm crossing the line as well; I have my first book coming out, and sometimes I wonder when I'm talking about it if I'm coming across arrogant or just confident.

It is a very difficult line to walk. Especially when your excited about something.... :)

MJFredrick said...

Aw, you guys are so good to me!

I think Bosey and Kelly right, that arrogance is just the only way these people know to feel better about themselves.

Mary Beth, you're right, there are teachers who are a lot more arrogant than they should be - a lot more "my way or the highway." I hadn't thought of that!

Trish, exactly how I feel - these people are shooting themselves in the foot with their behavior! You and I have known some doozies, too!

Rene, LOL! But having to leave your chapter - that's awful!

Toni, that's so true about the tone of emails - especially from a different culture. I never thought of that!

Candice, I think excitement comes through. At least, I hope it does. Thinking on it, the things that irritate me about the people I'm talking about isn't when they're celebrating their successes, but lamenting their failures, like "Don't they know who I AM?" kind of things going on.

Trish said...

Well, you're definately not alone in your reaction, Mary.

I know a couple of people who have unsubscribed from a couple of lists just because they were so sick of certain people's posts.

It makes me wonder, though, you know? Don't these people realize how cool everyone is to them? Or do they think the reaction is simply jealousy?


Amie Stuart said...

Candice is's a fine line to walk and I've given my Cp's strict instructions to slap me if I get out of hand. Like many other people have commented, I've left lists too, and there are certain online chapters I won't join.

Mary you never come acrossa as arogant (and God I hope I don't either). On the flip size is that scary point where you look up and realize people are listening to you just because you sold a book. Never mind that you're (I'm) the same poor slob you were before you sold =)

Theresa...I sometimes wonder the same thing. But some people will just never get it.

MJFredrick said...

Theresa, I think you're dead on that these people suspect others' coolness as being jealousy.

Cece, you are definitely not arrogant. Interesting about people's reaction once you sell. That's a whole new topic ;)

Amie Stuart said...

*Big sigh of relief*


MJFredrick said...



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